Thursday, December 05, 2013

Tiger Jack: All right. Before we lose him again, let's get Wyker on here, O.K. 
Johnny, how you doing, man? We keep losing you. Hope you can hang on for a few minutes. We got Wilbur Walton in the studio with us this morning. 

Wilbur: Hey, Johnny. 

Wyker: Yeah, I knew Wilbur back before he even started singing when he was a temp at Sigma Nu and he was friends with a buddy of mine named Jerry Sailor that later went on to sing with the Mark 5 up in Muscle Shoals and he died a few years age, I talked to Wilbur about a year ago on the phone and he probably gets the same thing I get every time he runs into an old friend. They say," Man, are you still alive? We thought you'd be the first to go."  I'm 63 and just got through raising and home schooling a 17 yr. old daughter and a 20 yr. old son and we've got an international net radio station on line. You can go to (URL deleted) ...that stands for Mighty Field of Vision Radio and we're actually trying to get a federal grant because you know now people don't have D.J.s like Tiger Jack that are heads up and hands on and that can break a local record like when we were freshmen in college in 1965, I got Johnny Townsend to sing with my band. He later went on to do SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE and Tippy Armstrong came to play guitar with us and I found out in about two seconds I couldn't play guitar in the same band with Tippy and I had a choice of either getting thrown out of my own band or learning how to play saxophone within two weeks, on a trumpet within two weeks and so I blew till my lips bled. My... 

Tiger Jack: Wyker is the guy responsible for, I don't know if he's ever heard this story before, but he's the guy responsible for putting TIGER JACK on me. Wyker used to... I'm sure you don't remember this, but you used to call me in the middle of the night and get me to play records then you would tape 'em so that the band could learn 'em. Y'all were the Mag 7 then. 

Wyker: Yeah. 

Tiger Jack: And one night, I used to like to lift a few cool ones before I come in, you know what I'm saying, and this particular night there'd been a few too many and Wyker called up and said, "Boy, you're roaring like a TIGER tonight!" and that's kinda evolved into Tiger Jack later on so... 

Wyker: I'd also like to say I'm glad to hear Buddy Buie's well and doing good. I've had a few surgurys myself; a ligament transplant in my right shoulder a few years ago from a motorcycle wreck and days and I broke Sail Cat up when Motorcycle Mama was about 18 in the charts and I was living in Hollywood and I said, "I got to get out of here before they find a way how to get my BMI songwriter's money." so I bought the rest of the guys a plane ticket back to Alabama and I drove my old Cadillac back and bought a houseboat and just lived on the river for about five years and I was actually born in Florence and raised down there most of my life and went to high school in Decatur and came to Alabama as a freshman where I met Eddie Hinton and started working with him in '68 but I'd like to comment on Buddy Buie. The first time I saw Buddy Buie he was probably managing the Webs and we were sharing a bill with them at THE OLD DUTCH and I don't even remember what the name of my band was but in Buddy Buie I saw a guy who had more desire and more ability and more natural talent than anybody I'd run into in my life up to that time. He wasn't really a guitar player but make enough chords and he wasn't really a singer but he could write the most beautiful songs and when he would rair back and play one for a room full of people, he didn't let his guitar playing and vocals stand in the way, I mean, if you had any imagination at all, you could hear the finished product and I also noticed that Buddy took care of the little details nobody else wanted to do, like booking the jobs and making sure the guitar player had his pick. You know, all that kind of stuff~ I'm probably the least talented musician in the world but through watching him and a young Dan Penn; they both had that same power when they'd play one of their own songs. I don't know if Buddy remembers but I went over to Atlanta one time about '65 or '66 and we had signed with Columbia Records and was lucky enough to get a hit in the Southeast called LET LOVE COME BETWEEN US and I stayed with Buddy for a while and ended up over at Robert Nix's house who was the drummer for most of those great bands that y'all been talkin' 'bout and he's also got a band now with Dan Toler called the Toler-Townsend Band. 

Tiger Jack: Is Johnny on that? 

Wyker: Yeah, he's still in L.A. 
Married to Jennifer Toffel. Dr. Jim Coleman put 'em together and I'm sure you've heard the news on that... 

Tiger Jack: Yeah. 

Wyker: Dr. Coleman died a couple of months ago of a fall in his apartment. Fell down the stairs and broke his neck but I think there was more to it than that but I'm not going to say anything about it until... 

Tiger Jack: Get back to the old days! How did you and The James Gang... 
You told me a story a little bit earlier on the phone about how y'all crossed. 

Wyker: Right! When Buddy was talking about The James Gang broke up and just left Wilbur. You know, I mean, it's hard to compete with Roy Orbison, especially at that time or anytime but Wilbur called me up and said,"I gotta bunch of Christmas jobs booked on The James Gang and I don't have a band. I said,"Well, I gotta bunch of Rubber Band shows lined up but I don't have a singer and Wilbur said, "Tell you what, I'll give you," I think it was $200 a week or a gig, "if you'll get a band to back me up." So he said,"You can pay the other guys anything you want to and ,you know, make a little extra money on it," and  I did but it wasn't about money back in those days but one night we'd play as The James Gang and Wilbur would sing but he'd normally fiddle around for about two hours trying to get the P.A. working as he was knocking 'em out pretty good back then and he'd wait until he got his buzz adjusted just right and we didn't know any songs- basically- I went back to playing bass and Lou Mullinex was on drums and let's see, Tippy played guitar a little bit and Ronnie Brown played a little guitar and I played bass and we would do these long jams, like, imagine FUNKY BROADWAY and not put lyrics on it and I remember one night Wilbur was still stalling, trying to get the mic working. It probably worked. He just wouldn't flip the switch on until about halfway through the show but we didn't care, I mean, I was standing there facing the amps seeing pictures coming flying out of the bass amp and all this stuff and we kept playing...We were playing at a place in Auburn called the Shepherd's Purse. 
At first the people started yelling, "Play something else! Play something else!" and we just ignored 'em and kept playing this one chord instrumental. About an hour later, I looked up and everybody in the place was dancing and moving and the beer bottles on the shelves were swaying with the music so we kept playing about another hour and by then everybody had found them. I like to call this area THE LAND OF A THOUSAND DANCES. I mean, kids don't know how to act now days. You go to a party back then and everybody was doing some kind of dance~ The Alligator,laying down on the floor ~The Monkey, The Dog, The Funky Chicken~ all this stuff, well, we played as The James Gang one night. The next night we'd show up as The Rubber Band and I'd hire Cort. This was before Sail Cat. He was barely out of high school or still in high school and that worked out all right until we showed up in Mobile three nights in a row. First as The Rubber Band, then came back as The James Gang and the next night change clothes and went in and the third night we started to hear kids say," Hey, didn't we see them here last night?" and another go, "Yeah, last night and the night before!" and we were lucky to get out of that tour alive but I can say that, you know, I was a member of The Rubber Band and The James Gang~the final version of The James Gang~ at the same time! 

Tiger Jack: Well listen Wyker, you know how commercial radio is, we gotta take a break so we're gonna let you go. 

Wyker: I'd like to invite everybody to go to our website and get the whole story. I gotta bunch a songs I wrote, uh, stories I wrote called CAT TALES ~ T-A-L-E-S ~ but it's (URL deleted) and music on there you can download. Tell you about a lot we are doing today and I'd like to encourage everybody to bet a copy of the beach music book, HEY BABY. 

Tiger Jack: Yeah, we've talked about that a lot. 

Wyker: 18 pound book! I mean you won't believe it! It'll break somebody's back when you hand it to 'em. I mean, they could have just made a coffee table out of it! 

Tiger Jack: Well, all right, we appreciate you calling in Johnny. We gotta go take a break. 

Wyker: Get some of the old guys together like Wilbur and Buddy and whoever else is still alive and put on a damn show and show 'em us old Boomers can still rock! 

Tiger Jack: I hear you, buddy. Thanks for calling in. 

Wyker: I love you. I love you, man, for what you've done for the music business. 

Tiger Jack: Thank you, sir! We'll talk to you later. JOHNNY WYKER!!!! 
formally of The Rubber Band, calling in to talk with us. We got Wilbur here in the chair with us and we're gonna be talkin' more about the music of the 1960s and The James Gang coming up here in a second but first, let's take a break...

Bobby Dupree, drummer for THE ROCKIN' GIBRALTARS, tribute to Johnny Wyker.                                  Johnny, man what an influence you had on not only me, The Rockin' Gibraltars, but tons of great musicians. I'll never forget 1967 playin' in PC at the Old Dutch, ya'll (The Magnificent Seven) playin at the Old Hickory, and the fun we had after the gigs. Not many people know this, but when the M7 recorded for Columbia, they were told they had to change their name, since Columbia had just released the movie "The Magnificent Seven", and they didn't want a conflict of interest lawsuit. Anyhow, Johnny called our bass player Keith Brewer and asked him if they (the M7) could buy our name, The Rockin' Gibraltars. We thought that was a kinda funny request, and of course we declined. I talked to Johnny shortly after that, and he told me that the M7 were recording an album, and they were going to change their name to "The Herald Angels". Johnny then said the album would be titled "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". What a great idea, but not one they all liked so shortly afterwards they changed their name to The Rubber Band. After I got home from Viet Nam, we moved up to T Town because Johnny said the music scene was hopping there. Johnny got me back into music, and I was blessed to play with some of the greatest musicians including Tippy Armstrong, Johnny Townsend, Mike Duke, Court Picket, Charlie Hayward, Art Shilling, Ronny Brown, Bill Connell, Mike Lawley, and of course Johnny. This was 1971, and Wyker had a large art pad he carried around with the complete story board of "Motorcycle Mama" written out like a movie script with cartoon characters. It actually was one of the first music video concepts I'd seen. Johnny was way ahead of many in the music industry as far as conceptual ideas. He was the original "Rhymin' Simon". Johnny, you influenced many musicians over the years brother. We won't forget you brother

Bobby Dupree

John Scott Gellerstedt, formally of Dothan, passed away November 24, 2013. He was 63 years old. Scott attended Dothan High School, graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery, Al. and attended the University of Alabama. Scott served our country in the military during the Vietnam war and was employed in the real estate appraisal business. Scott was preceded in death by his father, Sonny Gellerstedt and brother, Steve Gellerstedt. He is survived by his mother, Barbara Harris Adams; brother, Sam Gellerstedt of Sanford FL; sister, Shea Mendheim of Dothan; nephews, Cliff (Helen) Mendheim, Harris (Bay) Mendheim both of Dothan, Sammy, Michael, and Ben Gellerstedt of Sanford, FL. Scott had a host of friends and was loved by all who knew him. 


A Confederate Salt Kettle in Alabama (many thanks to Butch)

Scarlett: But you are a blockade runner. 
Rhett Butler: For profit, and profit only. 
Scarlett: Are you tryin' to tell me you don't believe in the cause? 
Rhett Butler: I believe in Rhett Butler, he's the only cause I know.

Andrew F. Smith STARVING THE SOUTH An Albatross Around the Neck of the Union: The Confederate Salt Makers of St. Andrews Bay

The St. Andrews Bay area's Civil War claim to fame is that the largest salt works in Florida were located here around Lake Powell at Phillips Inlet, West Bay, North Bay, Callaway Bayou and California Bayou in East Bay. These salt factories were owned by individuals and the Confederate government in Richmond as well as the Confederate governments of Alabama, Georgia 
and Florida. At many times during the three years from 1862 to 1865 as many as 2500 men along with 4000 wagons were involved in producing and transporting St. Andrews Bay salt. This immense industry did not exist before 1862 and it ceased to exist after 1865 as soon as normal channels of commerce were established after the war ended. 

A hungry Confederacy demanded salt and after Lincoln's naval blockading Anaconda Plan began, there was no salt to be had. No salt for food preservation. No salt for tanning leather. No salt for horses, mules and livestock. Prices for salt soared to one dollar a pound but in most cases no amount of Confederate money could buy salt but salt was essential to life so St. Andrews Bay became the site of an extremely lucrative enterprise during an extremely critical time.

There was never enough salt. In the present day, genealogists probe the salt rationing lists issued at Alabama, Georgia and Florida court houses. These lists tell us which individuals were judged to be worthy enough to be given the privilege of being allowed to buy salt during this most violent and extended drama in our history.

Most everyone in Florida started off the year 1861 with the attitude of "The Rights of The South At All Hazard!" but it didn't take long for little personal problems like death and suffering to override politics and by autumn of 1862, war weariness had already settled over the Confederacy.
LINKS RELATED TO CONFEDERATE SALT WORKS ON THE NORTHERN GULF 1) The Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron of the U.S. Navy built their naval blockade station, barracks, wharf, refugee camp, prison and cemetery on Hurricane Island, the barrier island that once existed at the mouth of the channel entering St. Andrews Bay at the time of the Civil War. By 1934, all traces of Hurricane Island had disappeared underneath the Gulf's waters.

2) This is a Wikipedia article on the U.S.S. Roebuck, a bark rigged clipper ship. It is one of many Wikipedia articles on the U.S. ships used to launch amphibious attacks upon the people of St. Andrews Bay during the Civil War. Five sailors from this ship were killed by Confederate troops near the town of St. Andrews on March 20, 1863. One body was left on the beach and buried by the Confederates. The other four were buried on Hurricane Island.

3) This is a link to a preview of Jeannie Weller Cooper's 2011 book, Panama City Beach: Tales From The World's Most Beautiful Beaches. This part reproduces the Hurricane Island information from a section of Marlene Womack's 1998 book, The Bay Country. John A. Burgess in his 1986 book, Sand In My Shoes, uses a Marlene Womack column from a June 1985 Panama City News-Herald and concludes from her information that Hurricane Island is now underneath the Gulf "in the open channel approximately one mile east south-east of the present day land's end (the eastern tip of today's Sand Island)." In 2013, the former land's end of Shell Island would now be a portion of Tyndall Beach.

4 ) This is a link that describes the markings on one of the Panama City salt kettles. A close friend of mine owns a Confederate salt kettle and I have his permission to examine & photograph it when I return to Alabama in January. I have also identified the location of two more kettles in the Mobile area.

5) This is a link to a 1955 Tequesta article that includes all the entries pertaining to Florida found in the journal of Dr. Walter Keeler, assistant surgeon aboard the U.S.S. Sagamore. The sailors of the Sagamore wrecked the salt works on St. Andrews Bay in September of 1862. Keeler noted that "salt nicely crystalized in cubical crystals" and that the people of St. Andrews promised not to build any more salt works.  Dr. Keeler does a great job of describing how he and his crew killed time between missions by oystering, crabbing, fishing and hunting game around the freshwater lakes in the dunes of Northwest Florida. He also writes that he had "no desire to go ashore in any part of Florida held by the rebels."

6) This is the link where I first discovered excerpts from Dr. Keeler's journal. It includes images of ships that launched attacks against St. Andrews Bay and also includes a photograph of Dr. Keeler.,+GEORGIA%22&source=bl&ots=Vzoq0LG53-&sig=HneZBZMNgxPT0DwzaCjfdV-s6Ec&hl=en&sa=X&ei=D2SXUvS6L9KzsATS7IDQCg&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

7) This is the Wikipedia link for Dr. Keeler's ship, the U.S.S. Sagamore.

8) This is a November 2012 article by John Roberts who in his retirement has seen fit to go out and examine the remains of salt works in Northwest Florida. This was published in the Wakulla News and includes a picture of a large salt kettle that may still be in the salt marsh near the St. Marks Lighthouse.

U.S.S. ALBATROSS The U.S.S. HARTFORD & the U.S.S. ALBATROSS Sailing Past The Rebel Guns At Port Hudson U.S.S. TAHOMA U.S.S. KINGFISHER Attacking Salt Works The U.S.S. HARTFORD & the U.S.S. ALBATROSS Sailing Past The Rebel Guns At Port Hudson
9) This is a link to a lesson plan on Confederate Salt Makers in Florida prepared in 1940. It includes John S.C. Abbott's description of the December 1863 burning of the town of St. Andrews which was published in Harper's Magazine in November 1866.

Abbott in Harper's 1866   "They rowed along, in a westerly direction about 20 miles, through a 
varied scene of wilderness, desolation, and beauty, and then landing, 
marched through the wilderness country five miles until they reached a large 
sheet of salt-water, called Lake Ocala. Here they came suddenly upon 
Kent's salt-works. There were 13 huge tanks or kettles in full blast, each 
holding 200 gallons. It seemed as though they had fallen upon some realm of 
Pluto, as they saw the immense fires blazing, Negroes running to and fro 
feeding them with the resinous fuel, and the air filled with smoke and vapor. 
They were producing 130 gallons of salt daily. Our boat's crew, who 
certainly deserve the title of intrepid, broke the boilers into pieces, utterly 
demolished the works and threw into the lake all the salt which they had 
accumulated. Two large flat-boats and six ox-carts were destroyed, and 17 
prisoners taken and paroled. 

"The success of this expedition incited to other similar movements. 
It so chanced that the stern-wheel steamer Bloomer, under Acting-Ensign 
Edwin Cressy, arrived. The steamer was of such light draught that she 
could run almost anywhere over the shallow waters of the bay. Master 
Browne put three officers and 48 men on board, and sent them to the 
western extremity of the bay, to a place called West Bay, where they found 
extensive Government salt-works, which were producing 400 bushels daily. 
Here they destroyed 27 buildings, 222 boilers and kettles, 5,000 bushels of 
salt, and storehouses containing three months' provisions. The estimated 
value of the property destroyed was half a million of dollars. 

"This little stern-wheeler which a sailor said 'could run where-ever 
there was a light dew,' now steamed down the shore of the bay, 
penetrating all its secluded inlets, and destroyed 198 private salt-making 
establishments. Seven hundred and sixty boilers and kettles were broken to 
pieces, and an immense amount of salt thrown into the lake. There was also 
committed to the flames 200 buildings, 27 wagons, and five large flat- 
boats. The entire damage to the enemy was deemed not less than 
$3,000,000. . . . 

"By some strange instinct, in these far-away regions, the slaves, 
with universal acclaim, received the Union soldiers as their deliverers. No 
frowns of their masters could repress their delight. With joy, which at 
times passed all bounds, they availed themselves of the opportunity of 
escaping from a bondage which their souls loathed. These ever-true 
friends to the Union cause proved of great service in pointing out the location of salt works, and the places where kettles had been hastily buried for 
concealment. Thirty-one of these contrabands accompanied the steamer back. 

"While these movements were in operation, Acting-Master Browne, 
learning from deserters that the town of St. Andrews had been occupied for 
10 months by a rebel military force, steamed up in the bark Restless to within 
100 yards of the town. Seeing a body of soldiers he shelled them and drove 
them speedily into the woods. Then, selecting some of the weathermost 
houses for a target, he soon set them in flames by his shells, and the 
conflagration rapidly spreading, in a few hours 32 houses were reduced to 

"Salt is one of the necessities of life. The rebel armies could not 
exist without it. They immediately made efforts to repair and defend 
their ruined works. Early in February 1864, the rebels had put up at 
West Bay, upon the site of the ruins which he had left there in 
December, greatly enlarged works, with a guard of 50 men to protect 
them. There were 26 sheet-iron boilers, each one of which held 881 
gallons, and 19 kettles averaging 200 gallons. These boilers and kettles 
had cost nearly $147,000, and the works covered a space of half a square 
mile. They had been in operation but 10 days when Lieut. W. R. 
Browne fitted out a cutter, manned with 13 men under Acting-Ensign 
James J. Russel, and sent them up the Gulf coast 20 miles. Here they 
were to land and march inland seven miles, until they should strike the 
works in West Bay, thus attacking them in the rear. 

10) Here's a New York Times article from December of 1863 which also includes a description of the burning of St. Andrews.

11) This material also came from the Confederate Salt Makers lesson plan.
According to The Tallahassee Historical Society Annual (1935) 
in an article written by F. A. Rhodes: "the average small salt plant 
consisted merely of a large kettle holding from 60 to 100 gallons of 
water and set in a brick or clay furnace. They were very similar to the 
syrup furnaces of today found on our small farms in this section. They 
were not built directly on the shore because of the high tides and wind, 
but were usually located a few hundred feet inland. Very near this 
furnace and kettle was dug a shallow well which always produced a 
plentiful supply of salty water. Perhaps this water was not quite as salty 
as that secured direct from the Gulf, but there was not an appreciable 
difference and it was very much more convenient. Instead of having a 
haul the water some distance, it could simply be drawn from the well and 
poured directly into the kettle. 

"Sometimes shallow holes were dug along the shore, and falling 
tides would leave them full of water, which was dipped up and carried in 
buckets to the furnace. . . . 

"The salt water after being poured into the kettle, was boiled in 
the same way as the brine secured form the smoke house. When there 
was only a thick brine left in the kettle it was dipped up, for further 
cooking would only burn that salt near the bottom of the kettle and render it unfit for use. The brine was usually placed on clean boards for 
the drying and bleaching process. Sometimes the brine was poured in a 
barrel, and after it settled, the water was dipped off the top. This was 
done particularly if the salt was not for table consumption, but merely for 
use in packing meat, etc. 

"Still others put the thick brine in bags and hung it up to dry, 
while others used fine sieves for the drying process. The salt often 
contained pieces of seaweed or other foreign particles which were 

12) This article is an excellent summary of most of the wrecking done on St. Andrews Bay by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

13) This article about the destruction of salt works on Cedar Keys includes an image of the U.S.S. Tahoma.

14) Here's a brief description of the Union raid on Geneva, Alabama in December 1862 which resulted in the capture of the Bloomer which became the U.S.S. Bloomer and was used in the attack on St. Andrews in December of 1863.

15) This is the description of the Masonic funeral of the skipper of the Albatross.

16) This is the Wikipedia article about the Confederate officer in St. Francisville who arranged the truce and Masonic funeral for Lt. Commander Hart.

17) This link describes on of
Connecticut's contributions to the Union's war effort: the construction of the U.S.S. Albatross in Mystic.

18) Here's another link to the St. Francisville tradition produced by Lt. Commander Hart's suicide: THE DAY THE WAR STOPPED

19) Log of the Albatross

20) Wikipedia article on the U.S.S. Albatross

21) The letters of Lieutenant Commander John E. Hart 1825-1863

22) Goucher College's Ella Lonn's wonderful journal article about the St. Andrews salt works. This work was incorporated into her landmark book, SALT AS A FACTOR IN THE CONFEDERACY

23) This work was prepared for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Florida

24) This is a link to a book that includes a description of the December 1863 attack when the town of St. Andrews was burned.

25) Great recent article with an overview of salt making in Northwest Florida during the Civil War.

26) A 2012 description of a Civil War reenactment of the St. Andrews Skirmish in Panama City.

27) Here's a recent little history lesson on the salt works written by the Wakulla County salt works aficionado, John Y. Roberts.

28) Paul A. Clifford's 1888 History of St. Andrews Bay is a short 76 page pamphlet that has a good description of the bay area in 1888.

29) George M. West's book on St. Andrews Bay

30) The official record of the attack that destroyed the town of St. Andrews in December of 1863.;cc=moawar;rgn=full%20text;idno=ofre0017;didno=ofre0017;view=image;seq=635;node=ofre0017%3A1;page=root;size=100